The 12 Days of Christmas: A Partridge in a Pear Tree

Editor’s note: To celebrate the holiday season, we are counting down the twelve days of Christmas with a fly-fishing theme. (Yes, we realize that the actual Twelvetide celebration comes after Christmas, but that didn’t seem as fun.)  We’re using classic posts that align with the lyrics of the traditional tune as closely as possible. This one just seemed obvious. We hope you’ve enjoyed our countdown and that you have a joyous holiday!

“On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, a partridge in a pear tree . . .”

If you do a Google search for “spent partridge caddis,” you’ll find that many different patterns—most with full or trimmed hackle—go by this name. This version, tied by author and blogger Matt Grobert, is a no-hackle pattern that features a thorax of bushy hare’s ear dubbing where others put the hackle. The result is a low-riding, subtle imitation.

As usual, this great video from Tightline Productions includes a few tricks of the trade that will improve your tying. The way Grobert attaches the Zelon underwing and “touch dubs” the hare’s ear are particularly ingenious.


          Spent Partridge Caddis
          Hook: Standard dry-fly hook (e.g. TMC 100), sizes 14-16.
          Thread: Olive, 6/0.
          Abdomen: Ginger Hare Tron Dubbin.
          Underwing: Caddis-amber Straight Zelon.
          Wing: Hungarian partridge feathers.
          Thorax: Hare’s ear dubbing.
          Head: Tying thread.
          Tools: Dubbing wax.

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